Tommy started by telling us that there was a possibility that the warthog we were about to dissect could be pregnant, not going to lie but that immediately made me a bit nervous! I do love the whole idea of learning more about an animal by looking at its innards but I had never imagined doing it on a pregnant animal! I soon got over it however as Tommy explain the first stages of setting up. We began by tying a meat hook frame to a tree, followed by putting a tarpaulin underneath to catch the blood! I had done previous dissections before, back in the UK but all on ruminants.
Jordan had the first go as Tommy showed him how to cut off the head, the sound as the flesh was cut did made me grimace at first but I got used to it eventually. With Tommy’s guidance we began to skin it, everyone seemed to take to it relatively well, although both Tommy and Gareth had to step in at some stages as a result of us either being a tad slow or accidentally taking some of the meat with the skin.
Once skinned we all watched as Tommy removed the organs and laid them on a table, it was then we found out that the warthog was definitely pregnant! That alone did pull at the heart strings a tad as we looked at the two – still growing – piglets on the table, but I suppose that’s just life!….
We all began to look at all the different organs and began noticing how similar the Warthogs anatomy was to our own.
I even had the guts (pun intended!) to have a go at blowing up the lungs to observe the change in both colour and air, it didn’t taste the nicest but I am glad I did it, as it just made the experience so much more interesting!
Once finished the overall dissection, myself and Jordan (with Gareth’s help) actually cut open one of the piglets. It sounds pretty brutal and I didn’t feel 100% comfortable whilst doing it, but once again I am glad I did. For only a half grown piglet it was surprisingly well formed, it had all of the same organs as its mum except for a stomach and a pancreas, they were just a tad smaller!
I thoroughly enjoyed the entire process and not only learned a lot more about the animal, but also learned to appreciate just how sophisticated mother nature can be!